Could Mold/Fungus Be the CAUSE of Your Chronic Health Issues?

by Dr. Susan Tanner, MD

Today begins Fungal Disease Awareness Week as declared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC and its partners have organized an informational campaign to highlight the importance of recognizing serious fungal diseases early enough in the course of a patient’s illness to provide life-saving treatment. Some fungal diseases go undiagnosed and can cause serious infections in people in the United States and around the world, leading to illness and even death. The CDC recognizes that fungal diseases can mimic other infections and viruses, making diagnosis difficult. Thus, if a sick person is being treated with medications for other types of infection, but does not get better, their sickness is likely fungal in origin, and the proper course of therapy should be employed.

While I “borrowed” much of the information written above from the CDC’s fungal disease page on their website, their statements highlight what we also aim focus on this week–mold/fungus as the underlying cause or trigger for many misdiagnosed illnesses and chronic diseases. But, while the CDC’s campaign is focused on some of the systemic, blood-involved infections of certain fungi, here on Sinusitis Wellness, our goal is to increase fungal awareness as it relates to the symptoms and signs of sickness from exposure to indoor mold and mycotoxins, the harmful chemicals molds secrete that make us sick.

Symptoms of Mold Exposure and Mold Illness

What do headaches, dizziness, brain fog, chronic sinus infections, odd numbness and tingling, fatigue, abdominal gas and bloating, mood swings, itchy skin and rashes, and thick, crumbly nails have in common?   These, among myriad other symptoms MAY indicate that you are suffering from the effects of elevated levels of mold or fungus in your indoor environments.

While any one of the above symptoms may be attributed to other causes, remember to “think fungus” if tests have been done, medications have been taken, and procedures completed, but your symptoms continue unabated or cannot been explained. The harmful effects of mold cannot be overstated, and the recognition of environmental causes of chronic illness are often not considered, much less addressed, in a traditional doctor visit. Especially now, in our age of protocol-based medicine, the right questions are not often asked that would reveal a need to evaluate a patient’s environment as the cause of a medical condition.

Is Mold Causing Your Sickness?

If you are suffering from chronic symptoms such as those listed above, then please take the next steps to see if fungus/mold could be at the root of your problems! And remember, it is very possible that only one member of a household or office may be ill while others are not. The genetic individuality, as well as the “total body load” (all the previous illnesses, medications, surgeries) play a role into how quickly or how severely one may be made ill by mold.

How Do I Get Started?

  1. Evaluate your home/work/car environment for mold.  EC3 Mold Screening Test Plates and Diagnostic Test Plates are inexpensive ways to get started. There are also articles on testing for mold on this and other websites to help you screen and identify if there is a mold problem in your space. Many people believe that only visible “black mold” is problematic, but the truth is that many toxic molds may be present without your seeing a thing! This is true especially if mold is growing in the HVAC system or inside walls. The ACAC website is a good resource to find a trained professional who can examine your home and can test for mold at a higher level.
  2. Take a FREE online evaluation to help you hone in on key things in your environment and in your symptomology that may point to mold as the cause. The evaluation is offered on our Fungal Awareness Week Landing Page. It helps you focus on fungus to either pinpoint or eliminate it as a possible symptom trigger. Your results can be printed and can be taken to your next doctor’s visit, or used a reference for helpful products and treatment progress.
  3. Consider your sinus symptoms. Did you know that chronic sinus infections that either don’t respond to antibiotics or recur after cessation of treatment are likely fungal in origin? See an ENT doctor who can do sinus x-rays and a CT scan to look for the presence of a “fungal ball” in your sinuses, requiring antifungal treatment. (Note: If you have not addressed the moldy environment, even with antifungal treatment, the sinus infection will recur.) Fungal sinus infections frequently get a secondary bacterial infection, which seems to clear with the use of antibiotics, but the underlying fungal infection causes the problem to come right back. Chronic sinusitis almost always has a fungal component! If fungus is confirmed, the use of the Nasopure sinus irrigation system along with CitriDrops Dietary Supplement and CitriDrops Nasal Spray can help to kill off the fungi.

Treating Mold As the Cause

Once you ask the right questions and gather the right information about what is causing your symptoms, it is time to take action. There are many steps you can take to help your body heal from mold exposure and to prevent the more severe symptoms of fungal-related disease. Many steps are ones that you can start taking immediately to find relief and help with your symptoms.

(Note: If your symptoms are severe, please try to find an environmental physician who is familiar with identifying and treating fungal illness. The website www.aaem.com is that of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, and there is a searchable directory listing practitioners by state and city.)

  1. Follow protocols and procedures for eliminating mold/fungus from your living spaces and from your body! There are several products on the MicroBalance site that can help eradicate mold and their resultant toxins from your body and surroundings, but these are only successful if you have cleared your air of mold. There are also products available to clean mold spores from your clothes, pets, and belongings. Think of fungi like lice…. They reproduce quickly and if any are left behind they will only come back full force! You would not live in a home full of lice; keep the same attitude about mold spores!
  2. Keep your diet healthy and free of sugar or refined carbohydrates. If you have fungal issues in your digestive system, often due to the yeast candida albicans, you must not feed it with these simple sugars. There are also multiple probiotics to help keep the good bacteria in better balance, as well as antifungal medications and natural products to help kill off the yeast. But, if you are feeding the mold with your diet, these products cannot be truly successful. You can go to www.thebodynexus.com to enter the Wellevate portal to get recommended probiotics at a discount, such as Klaire Pro5, or Therabiotic Plus. If you need help with a nutritional or dietary plan for this, those professional consults are also available through the website.
  3. Begin clearing the mycotoxins, which are the chemicals produced by molds and fungus that accumulate in your body. Detoxing will help you get better. You can refer to previous articles for some of these processes. In addition, you can visit the Wellevate portal on www.thebodynexus.com to see products for mold and mycotoxin detoxification. Your response to detox and treatment may help you further see how much you have been affected by your environment!
  4. Finally, spread the word about mold and fungal disease to friend and family in the spirit of this Fungal Disease Awareness Week! There are so many people suffering from mold/fungus-related illness that do not know what they have, or have been told it is “imagined” and have lost their livelihood, relationships, and activities due to these illnesses. Knowledge is power and much can be done! Feel free to share emails articles, references, and links throughout the week to help us spread the word and educate others. Also consider signing up for the emails and correspondence from the CDC. Seeking to all of the information available on the subject will further your understanding and will help you educate others.

Please write to us below or email us at newsletter@sinusitiswellness.com with questions, comments, and ideas for future articles. We love hearing from you!


 

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About the Author:

Susan Tanner has practiced medicine for over 33 years, concentrating primarily on chronic illness and the impacts on the individual, the family and the community. Her driving curiosity into why people are made ill caused her to pursue education in Environmental Medicine, completing coursework, exams, and necessary practice years to earn board certification in this area in 2009. Her own struggles with mold-related illness drove her desire to teach those similarly affected. While in clinical practice, Dr. Tanner wrote and contributed to a number of publications on environmental health, prepared narratives for understanding in legal matters, and researched new techniques for modulating the body’s ability to clear toxins and infections. She now has a fitness and health website www.thebodynexus.com, where she writes articles and shares education on utilizing the various body systems into improve overall health.

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